New Law Opens the Door to Expungement for Thousands
When you are arrested on suspicion of a crime, the arrest becomes part of your permanent record, even if you are never convicted. Prospective employers, lenders, and school admissions officials—among many others—may look into your criminal background when considering your application for a job, a loan, or an educational program. Having even a single arrest on your record can lead to embarrassing questions and conversations for many years after the fact. Depending on the outcome of your case, you may qualify to have the arrest expunged, or erased from your record. Now, a new law is extending the possibility of expungement to a much larger group of individuals in an effort to create more opportunities for those with a mistake or two in their past.
What Is Expungement?
According to the law, “‘expunge' means to physical destroy the record or return them to the petitioner and to obliterate the petitioner's name from any official index or public record, or both.”
New Expungement Law Effective January 1, 2017
The current law in Illinois regarding expungement is strict. An individual (or petitioner) can apply to expunge an arrest only if: 1) the arrest resulted in an acquittal (not guilty); or 2) a dismissal; or 3) a release without being charged; or 4) an order of court supervision on a guilty plea or guilty finding if the supervision was successfully completed; or 5) an order of qualified probation on a guilty plea or guilty finding if the probation was successfully completed.
The existing law, however, prohibits an individual from petitioning for an expungement of any qualifying arrest if he or she has ever been convicted of a separate criminal offense. This means that if you have ever been convicted any offense (aside from minor traffic violations) and wish to have an otherwise qualifying arrest expunged, you would not currently be eligible to apply.
Beginning January 1, 2017, however, individuals with prior convictions will now be able to apply for an expungement of an eligible arrest.
We Can Help
If you have recently finished a court supervision program and would like to learn more about getting the offense expunged from your record, contact an experienced DuPage County expungement attorney. Call 630-665-7330 to schedule a confidential consultation at MKFM Law today. We will help you understand the applicable laws and will work with you in completing the expungement process as quickly as possible.